Prayer God and the Bible

Can we change Gods mind through prayer? If not isnt prayer kinda useless? I mean sure you can pray for strength but that sometimes doesnt come. In my experience prayer has been pretty useless. So is there any theological meaning for prayer? I know we shouldnt see God like a cosmic genie but what to pray for? To stop bad things from happening to you? God himself said we will have trouble. So ? Pray for spiritual strength as some say? I and other people have done that it doesnt work. So i really dont get the verse “Ask and you shall receive” .

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Nick, brother, well done. Thank you. For your courage and honesty. You speak for many of us. Let’s see where we can go.

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Still a believer. My love for God hasnt changed despite these feelings Klax. God bless

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If I were the praying sort I think I’d pray for even a glimpse of God’s understanding in whatever matter was provoking me. I think asking what God can do for me would be the wrong way around.

We did a really interesting podcast episode on prayer and whether it “works” early on. You might like it!

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Like love, a conceptual understanding of prayer only takes one so far. How do you explain love for a spouse to someone whose never experienced it? Any attempt is fumbling and jumbled; it never does it justice. But when that person Finally experiences it for the first time they’ll go ‘Oh so that’s what he was talking about! So this is love!’

In the same way, like love, prayer is kinaesthetic; you understand it by doing it, by feeling it, experiencing it, living it. By having an awareness that as you sit in your jimjams with a cup of coffee, you are actually having an audience with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and all his sovereign attention in that moment is focused on you. Best of all, because of what his Son has done on your behalf your Heavenly Father looks down from his throne at you with a expectant smile - he wants to hear what you have to say to him.

At the same time prayer is a glorious mystery in that God is sovereign over all things and yet he commands us to pray to him; to ask him to do stuff even though we’re told he has already decided what that stuff is. How does that work?! :exploding_head:

The best I have come to is that God is his incredible love and compassion has chosen to work out his sovereign will through the prayers of his people. Which means when we pray we are in some mysterious way partnering with God as we (he and us) seek to see his will done on earth as it is in heaven. There is nothing artificial about it; their is no coercion on God’s part. Instead the dynamic relational dialogue of prayerful interaction is how God outworks his will in our lives and our world. In my books, that also makes prayer a wonderful, beautiful honour.

I can’t square all the circles and explain how all that works in detail or answer all the questions I have, but that is the conclusion I’ve drawn based on what I see in scripture. By God’s grace I’m slowly learning to live in the place where the tensions equalise. Maybe the Lord will grant you the same grace. I’ll pray he does.

I hope that helps buddy.

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Good word, Liam. I also feel that prayer helps with aligning my will with God’s so that the “Thy will be done” thing is sincere and true.
I am still undecided about the changing God’s mind thing. I am more in the Arminian camp, and even find some Open Theism ideas attractive, so think that the future is not already written. The Old Testament seems to abound with examples of God’s plan being altered but with God being omnipotent, his will is always effected. Now, does that also mean God can change his will and plan? Hum. Wouldn’t be much of a God if he couldn’t, would he?

Indeed he wouldnt. But we see in the Old Testament that his mind is changed whenever Moses prays . I saw a video on this that Frank Turek explained that we thing that God changed his mind because we see it from our perspective and not Gods. However i dont know what conclusions should i draw

I’m glad. You asked the same question some weeks, months ago, as I recall, Nick.

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Yea but now a lot more detailed i think.In my previous i asked if prayer worked.After trying it out again now there are more questions in this.So now i ask why it doesnt work

Sure. It works in every psychological and Spiritual way that it can. At best it’s the poor man’s CBT. Which is very good indeed.

No it doesnt. If so explain how if you want.

Sorry for that mate. A bit of a language barrier there :wink:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

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Hey Nick. Genuine question, in what way doesn’t prayer work? :slightly_smiling_face:

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Jesus told this story, found in Luke 18:

18 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Isn’t this a strange story?

In the story, it appears the unjust judge represents God.

And the widow represents us.

We are called to keep praying. And we are called to continue to have faith.

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No, it is saying that God is better [immeasurably so] than the unjust judge. I forget what that particular comparison argument is called, but it has a name.

Edit: The argument from the greater to the lesser (sometimes formulated in the reverse order), or Argumentum a fortiori.

The idea being, if the unjust judge would answer the persistent widow’s plea, how much more will God hear us, his beloved children. But we better be bugging him for the right things. The first petition in the Lord’s Prayer is kind of important, “Hallowed be thy name…” So the sequence is significant. If that desire is not in our hearts or in our minds…

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Definitely.

You just said that God is unjust yourself

In every way. You pray for strength it might not come. You pray for guidance it might not come . You pray for whatever high chances it wont come. I heard of this “Is Gods plan” thing. Ifmy prayers are gonna be answered in my 60s i rather not pray at all

Nick, I did not say that.

Far be it from me to say such a thing.

I wrote that it appears the unjust judge represents God.

To represent something in a story is not to be something.

As Dale wrote, God is immeasurably better than the unjust judge.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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